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ENCHANTÉ – CULTURAL SHOCKS

I finally got to writing my Memoirs. In the process, I remembered my many cultural shocks. If you traveled the world over as I did, you may recognize some of your own experiences.

If you have your own list of cultural shocks, please send them to johnschwartzauthor@hotmail.com, and I will publish them! It’s fun to know how we look at each other.

THE “WEST” AND “SORT OF WEST”

  •  USA: Americans think only they are sane. The rest of the world thinks Americans are insane and they are sane.  And everything in America looks and tastes the same, and their girls are xenophobic.
  • Russia: Taking a bath is against the rules unless you do it in vodka.
  • Holland: Bikers don’t look right or left and run you over, yelling YOU are stupid. Plus ample dog poop and the only place where I got robbed three times over the years by the same people. Guess once:  Starts with an “M”, Holland’s most popular ethnic Moroccan invaders.
  • Belgium: Toilet paper cut from old newspapers and no sinks to wash your hands. Language either Flemish or Walloon, either way unintelligible. Breakfast: French fries, mussels, and beer (or “rouge”, red wine). Lots of smokers.
  • France: Toilets with black holes, no seats, and pissed-over footsteps and no sinks to wash your hands. Plus subway stink is the world’s worst. And heaps of dog and pigeon poop. Food is way too expensive and waiters are rude. And French love is a myth. Americans in Paris made that up because they don’t know what love is either, only in the movies. But I made some very good friends and had lovely moments.
  • Spain: Males can’t leave a girl alone. Females are locked up 24/7. And I can’t sing serenades in Spanish.
  • Portugal: As many windmills as in Holland. They look spooky. Don Quixote traveled from Spain to Portugal to fight them.
  • Italy: Males can’t leave a girl alone. And females eat too much pasta. And there’s too much pigeon poop, too.
  • Germany: One menu only: bier, wurst, und sauerkraut. And too much hoompa hoompa.
  • England: no menu at all, only rain, and after joining the EU they still drive on the wrong side of the road. Maybe that will change after Brexit.
  • Ireland: All Irish have gone to New York to join the Democratic Party. Only Poles and Romanian pickpockets are left.
  • Scotland: Rain, cold weather, smoking chimneys, and nobody speaks English.
  • Switzerland: Swiss-French unintelligible; Swiss-German unintelligible, Swiss Italian, well, who knows; I don’t speak Italian. Traffic priority signs for frogs, cows, and turtles. The Swiss put holes in their cheese to attract American off-shore money. Raclette sits in your stomach for two weeks and causes terrible farts that kill your co-worker in seconds.

AFRICA

  • Rwanda: Twice destroyed in thirty years with old colonial help.
  • Burundi: Twice destroyed in twenty years with old colonial help.
  • Central African Republic: snakes in and/or under your bed, wasps in your toilet, and pygmies running between your legs.
  • Cameroon: The food looks great but you can’t eat it.
  • Congo-Kinshasa: Everybody cheats.
  • Congo-Brazaville: Nobody cheats. It’s forbidden by law.
  • South Africa: Go visit a shopping mall to get shot at and run for your life.
  • Tanzania: Dar es Salaam has too many SUVs and nobody knows how they were paid for.
  • Kenya: Wildlife is for tourists and the airport road is to kill the tourists.
  • Ethiopia: The table cloth is edible but you wouldn’t think that when you go to bed.
  • Mali: That’s where Timbuktu is and when I got there I finally understood why everybody says it’s nowhere.
  • Guinea: Why for heaven’s sake did the colonialists put that country on the map?
  • Ivory Coast: Must be called Côte d’Ivoire to show it was once French and that’s why it is what it is.
  • Ghana: The only place in Africa on the West Coast that seemed to work because it had a direct KLM flight from Amsterdam.
  • Nigeria: The one place in Africa that should work but doesn’t. Night flight out to safety.

ASIA

  • Bangladesh: Delicacy: cockroached curry. Eating with your fingers; spit reservoirs in every corner of every corridor; toilets are bastions of urine, providing the main perfume in office buildings; and beware of the Dhaka “run” if you want to survive.
  • India: more of the same, but a little bit more sophisticated and the best food in the world. And heavenly Kashmir should be declared neutral territory for everyone to enjoy, not just Islamists, not just Hindus, not just Pakistanis. Just let it be.
  • Malaysia: A mushroom garden with millions of multicolored edible mushrooms and a McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur. What a place to live.
  • Singapore: The country that everyone wants to ape but only Singaporeans know how to run.
  • Taiwan: The only place where China is not China but everyone speaks Chinese and a tree you can slide through to become rich if you don’t fear getting stuck in the middle for the rest of your life.
  • Philippines: Manila TV is like American TV – just as awful. In the countryside you find its beauty, but you may get struck by a typhoon.
  • Indonesia and Bali: Djakarta is like Lagos, but outside the city, Java is a jewel. And on Bali, they serve the best suckling pig on earth. Go visit Bali’s interior to see the real Indonesia and its terraced rice fields. Heaven on earth. But the hotel bills are hellish.
  • Hong Kong: British geniality mixed with Chinese Confucianism. Foremost a good cuisine, especially on the street, but everyone wondered how long the good life of one country two systems would last when the Brits handed it over to Communist China. The day of reckoning has come.
  • China: More bikers than in Holland, and I never had real Chinese food before, not even in Amsterdam or NY China Town.
  • Macao: Beware! Bought my wife a sapphire ring that turned out a piece of colored glass.
  • Japan: Plastic food in the window is for show and not for eating. You must bow when meeting people in the elevator. And even a GPS can’t find where you’re going.
  • Hawaii: advertised as little Asia but no, it’s pure America.

MIDDLE-EAST

  • Saudi-Arabia: The place where beautiful women are kept in hiding and your head gets cut off if you dare looking at them when they come strolling out after 11 p.m., or for saying something about their beauty.
  • Lebanon: A Falafel tastes as good as a bomb.
  • Jordan: An oasis in the desert and the only place in the Middle-East where I could ride a horse, have dinner in the open with a lovely woman, and feel at home, and where I might have stayed if she had said “yes.”

CARIBBEAN/SOUTH AMERICA

  •  Guyana: Loud. Loud dogs, loud crickets, loud vehicles, loud music, loud people but great curry and the best rum in the world. Drives on the wrong side of the road because the British stole Guyana from the Dutch in the 100-year European wars. Beautiful and savvy women, always showing a pleasant smile; and everything stays the same.
  • Surinam: Neighbor of Guyana and awfully isolated but Surinamers don’t mind.  People speak fluent Dutch  (the only country outside Holland and Flemish Belgium that does) as Surinam was a Dutch colony until 1975. My greatest shock was that while speaking Dutch they are not Dutch at all, and their beautiful women bite.
  • Curacao: The place to live but too expensive to retire.
  • Bonaire: For scuba divers and iguana lovers only.
  • Jamaica: The place where I spent my Millennial and tore both of my shoulder tendons when climbing back into my capsized sailing boat, leaving me burdened with lifelong Jamaicanitis.

 

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ENCHANTÉ – PRESIDENT TRUMP – “DO ME A FAVOR”

The Friends are back in the Hullahoo bar talking about the events of the day. Lots of yelling.

Tom: “I think Stone Sour should be impeached!”

Frank: “Yeah, impeach, impeach! I believe they performed it first in Moskou, ha!”

Melissa: “Yeah, ‘So Do Me A Favor, There is no Savior,’ or something like that, and that in Russia Russia, highly impeachable!”

Maria: “And what about the Arctic Monkeys, ‘Do me a favor, and ask me if you need some help!'”

Cindy: “I have a better one from the Riverdale Cast, ‘Do me a favor, say Okay, do me a favor, make them pay!'”

Ted: “And then to think we pay those people in Congress who have nothing else to do but impeach. At least those bands earn their own money.”

Fred: “Do me a favor, Melissa, and hand me that pepper mill for my Bloody Mary, please.”

Melissa: “Any ulterior motives if I don’t? You won’t pay for my drink?”

Fred: “Like that Fats Waller song, ‘Do me a favor, marry me, share my lot.’

Melissa: “You see, you’re a savage, Fred!”

Fred: “Oh, come on, Melissa, even Paul McCartney sang, ‘Somebody’s knocking on the door, so do me a favor and let them in’.”

Ted: “Sounds like the left-wing immigration policy.”

Tom: “Do me a favor, guys, and ask the Treasury to stop paying congressional salaries until they do some work!”

Frank: “That’s quid pro quo, buddy, and you’ll be impeached for that!”

Cindy: “No, Tom is right. I will ask Pelosi, ‘Do me a favor and send people to remove that poop from my doorstep!'”

Fred: “Do me a favor, Cindy, let’s keep this civil. I’m having a Frankfurter with my drink.”

Marlene: “I’m sure everybody in Russia, China, Ukraine, Iran, and whatever dictatorship is having a good laugh about the stupid American democracy.”

Maria: “Right. I don’t think Democratic Party is synonymous with Democracy. Like Russia, they want to jail everybody.”

Marlene: “Is the Republican Party any better? They impeached Clinton.”

Cindy: “Clinton committed felonies and lied under oath, and lost his license to practice law.”

Frank: “And what did Trump do? Asking help to disguise the culprits of the 2016 election Russia Hoax in Ukraine, cough up the secret Hillary server and open up on the Biden corruption, all things that are already under investigation. There was no quid pro quo like with Biden.”

Maria: “And that’s what he said he’d do if he was elected, and he was. He got a mandate for that.”

Frank: “The Democrats only want payback. Tit for Tat, simple as that!”

Tom: “The whole matter sounds like ‘J’accuse‘ in that Dreyfuss affair in France, which started with a spy rummaging through a wastebasket and proved unfounded after years of turmoil. History repeats itself.”

Maria: “That whistleblower does not seem to be a whistleblower at all but an orchestrated internal Whitehouse trap set by people who hate Trump. It’s CIA stuff, by those dejected old spies that have now CNN jobs.”

Cindy: “I remember from my history class that the Dreyfuss affair caused major damage to the French justice system, and  I bet this impeachment case would damage our justice system too.”

Tom: “It already has. That German wisecrack Otto von Bismarck said ‘Politics is the Art of the Possible,” but there’s nothing artful in this impeachment thing. It’s undermining America. Let we the people vote these nincompoops out in a year from now.”

“Hear, hear!” everybody yells and lifts their glasses.

Credits on Lyrics: www.Lyrics.com

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ISBN-13: 978-0999154410
ISBN-10: 099915441
Francine Boyers, a bright and beautiful young West Virginian with a mining degree from Morgantown, is hired by Jim O’Hara, CEO of OHARA, a West Virginian Mining company based in New York. As the CEO’s personal assistant, battling for the West Virginian miners, she proves to be unusually quick on her feet and rises through the ranks to Vice President with astonishing speed, but finds herself enmeshed in a corporate conspiracy. Will she save the West Virginian miners and find love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ENCHANTÉ – DORIAN – CHANGE THE CLIMATE!

 

The Hullahoo Bar friends are reuniting after the holidays for their Labor Day Drink, starting with the hottest subject of the day.

“I say ‘No to Climate Change’ but ‘Change the Climate,’ Frank starts. “I want to stop the sun from turning back on June 21. Already it’s going dark.”

“And stop the hurricanes,” Fred adds. “They all come from Africa. Terrorists must be brewing them in the Sahara.”

“The President was overheard saying ‘Nuke them’,” Melissa says, smirking.

“That’s been tried before,” Tom says. “Navy planes started it in the 1950s. As of the sixties they flew into hurricane eyes and spread the walls with silver iodide. They called it ‘Project Stormfury’.”

Credits: Photo: NOAA – U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Photo Library  – Text Project Stormfury: Richard Schwartz – “Great Hurricanes of the South East Coast” – work in progress. See also Rick Schwartz https://www.amazon.com/Hurricanes-Middle-Atlantic-States-Schwartz/dp/0978628004

“Sorry, Tom,” Mary interjects, “but I wasn’t good at chemistry in high school.  What’s that stuff?”

“A yellow powder that makes rain,” Tom explains. “They did it with Hurricane Beula in 1963. The eyewalls began to fall apart and the winds fell by twenty percent.”

“So why aren’t they doing that today?” Cindy asked.

“Because Cuba’s Fidel Castro complained in 1963 that the U.S. weaponized the hurricanes to hit them,” Tom says. “And when they tried it in the Pacific in the seventies, China made a similar complaint. So ‘Project Stormfury’ ended in the eighties after millions spent. But the Hurricane Research Division in Miami is continuing research with planes that fly into the eyes, as they did with ‘Katrina’.”

“At what cost?” Cindy asked.

“In the order of twelve million a year,” Tom answers. “But that may also include other things. I’m sure they’re in Dorian already.”

“Well, given today’s billions of trade wars with China, they should start that again in the Pacific. Cheaper than fighting with tariffs,” Fred opines.

“But what help is this research?” wonders Ted. “It still doesn’t stop these hurricanes once they’re in the air. We must stop them from flying off in the Sahara. It’s terrorism, stupid.”

“Plant trees in the Sahara,” Melissa suggests. “Trees make clouds and rain. Drill for water in those dried-up lake beds they discovered instead of oil.”

“Who owns the Sahara?” Mary asks, scoffing. “Some eight countries if I remember well, all troublesome and full of terrorists. Good luck with your project.”

“Suppose we send Bernie and Pocahontas with their climate plans to the terrorists?” Fred offers. “Maybe they can persuade them with Democrat money to plant trees instead of bombing us.”

“It’s that copper bully in the sky that pulls earth’s orbit closer to its chest,” Frank claims. “Ever had a sunburn at the beach? Well, in a few years we’ll all get scorched. We must steer Mother Earth away from Bully The Sun.”

“Do these Green Deal people know who steers Earth?” Cindy asks. “It looks we’re heading for a big collision the way you describe it. The Bible says somewhere that the elements of earth will be destroyed by fire.”

“Right, we better find out how to steer Earth,” Mary says. “You see what happens with these driverless cars. They run into people and street lights, causing fire.”

“That’s exactly what that Green Deal does,” says Frank. “And they’re not insured.”

“I have a better idea,” Fred says. “Let’s turn these hurricanes back to Africa. That’s what those Green Deal people should put their trillions on. Let them drop all that water on the Sahara instead and plant trees.”

“AOC!” Mary suggests. “Stands for ‘Assault Our Climate.’ Let’s start breezing hard to blow Dorian away from the coast and back to where it came from.”

“That’s racist!” Melissa hollered.

“So is my Bourbon,” yells Frank. “Cheers!”

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Francine: Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State 1st Edition

ISBN-13: 978-0999154410
ISBN-10: 099915441
Francine Boyers, a bright and beautiful young West Virginian with a mining degree from Morgantown, is hired by Jim O’Hara, CEO of OHARA, a West Virginian Mining company based in New York. As the CEO’s personal assistant, battling for the West Virginian miners, she proves to be unusually quick on her feet and rises through the ranks to Vice President with astonishing speed, but finds herself enmeshed in a corporate conspiracy. Will she save the West Virginian miners and find love?

 

 

 

 

 

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ENCHANTÉ-INDEPENDENCE-THE FRIENDS INVITE MARS MAN

From left to right: Monsieur Enchanté, Mars Man on Mars, Mars Man on Planet Earth, and Kathryn of Omaha TV.

The friends are meeting for their Independence drinks in OMAHA’S Hullahoo Bar and invited Mars Man and his wife Kathryn from Omaha TV to join.

“Welcome Mars and Kathryn to the Friends drink at the Hullahoo for Independence Day,” croons Frank. “So glad you could make it.”

“Wonderful to be here,” Mars Man says.

“Likewise,” Kathryn adds, smiling her enticing Omaha TV smile, raising her martini.

“Tell us, Mars, how do you and Kathryn manage your life between planets?” asks Frank.

“Easy with our technology,” Mars says. “With my Scooter One, I’m here in forty-eight hours. More than lightning speed. Planet Earth is nowhere near that technology.”

“But how come you look like us as your Mars City TV face is alien?” Fred’s eyes burn with multiple questions.

“Again, our advanced transmutation technology allows me to change into my Planet Earth body on arrival. By the flick of my wrist.”

“And how did you and Kathryn get married?” asks Cindy, always out for romance.

“Mars knows me from Omaha TV,” Kathryn says, smiling again. “Mars can see mee from his Mars City TV where he is the Chief News Anchor. So he reached out to collaborate between Omaha TV and Mars City TV and we frequently do. When he sent me his Planet Earth picture I fell in love with him.”

“But Mars lives there and you live here,” Melissa interrupted. “How can long distance infatuation work?”

“Simple,” Mars said. “The same as you in Omaha and your loved one in New York: you commute. We get together as often as we can and have two lovely mixed children on Planet Earth.”

“What!” cried out Tom. “Does your Martian body work the same as ours?”

“On Planet Earth it does,” Mars says. “On Mars, we use electrodes for penetration.”

“So you have no sex problems on Mars like we do here?” Fred asks, his face looking perplexed.

Loud laughter.

“Unfortunately we do,” Mars says. “When your electrodes misfire, you may get sued. But we don’t text as you do here to find out if a person loves you. That’s oldfashioned. We shoot an electrode and if it finds access and shoots back, you’re in.”

“But how do your kids look like, Kathryn?” Maria asks, curious as ever.

“Like yours,” Kathryn says. “Except that they have bionic powers. That causes problems at the proms or in the classrooms when they hear what friends are gossipping about them.”

“Can you travel to Mars with your kids?” Fred asks, hoping to get a ride.

“Not yet. We’d need to wear space suits and our voyage would take much longer because we don’t have Mars bodies. And once there, we can’t take the suits off to be with Mars. But we’re happy here as long as Mars comes over. Thanks to Warren Buffett, Nebraska is still a free country in the midst of China Province America and Mars can land freely in Buffett’s cornfields.”

“That’s why all Friends live in Omaha now,” Frank says, bitter-sweet but utterly relieved. “We got here just before the Chinese built a wall around the border.”

“True,” Mars says. “During my last interview with Lu Kung Si, the Chinese governor in New York, he confessed that Buffett had bribed Xi Ping with a billion of Berkshire Hathaway shares.”

“Do you know how they build that wall?” Cindy asks.

“They stole the Trump designs and forced American dissenters in hard labor camps to do the work,” Mars replied. “The wall is so good that nobody gets in, even better than what the illegals faced in the south or the Berlin Wall in East Germany in the sixties. Kathryn is slated to meet with Lu next week as a free representative of what was once the great USA, to discuss China’s plans with Province America.”

“But how does she go to New York and back?” Ted asks. “Aren’t you afraid they may keep her there for ransom?”

“Kathryn gets special permission, with lots of Chinese red tape,” Mars clarifies, grinning. “And she flies back on the company plane. Lu knows that if he did anything bad to Kathryn his Xi Ping tower would be rubble the next moment.”

“I heard the Chinese also stole the NASA designs to go to Mars,” Fred says.

“We know, but Confucius said. ‘An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.’ So we’re prepared. They may reach Mars but will melt on arrival.”

“And what if Kathryn came?” Maria asks.

“Red carpet out,” Mars said, laughing. “Happy Fourth!” And he raised his bottle of Buffett beer, formerly Samuels.

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“A beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.” Neal Cary (Cellist -Professor – William&Mary)

“Enjoyed the book. Well written book. A very heartbreaking love story.” Vera Wilson

“Enchanting the Swan was a nice read, and a deviation from the predictable boy meets girl and falls in love formula. There were many turns in the book that are reminiscent of life in that they were off the path to the end result. The writing was very image evoking and it all made for a good story that kept me reading until the end. Looking forward to more from this author!” Amy

“A lively composition! The various moneyed people, their elaborately appointed living quarters, and their high-wheeling lifestyle add a dash of pizzazz.” Kirkus Reviews

 

 

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ENCHANTÉ-ATTIC GHOSTS TALKING

Squirrels Charlie and Charlene got fed up with their leaking roof in the sycamore tree and decided to find a better home for their upcoming babies. The nearby shed in their yard was too low, and the pine-oak they used to hang out in was removed by those unsocial humans they had to put up with. The sycamore tree had one advantage, though: a branch reaching to the humans’ roof.

“Come on Charlene,” Charlie said one early morning, shaking off raindrops from his tail. “Let’s go over there and take a look. Maybe we’ll find a hole somewhere.”

Charlene found this a great idea. The two rushed over the branch and hopped on the roof, the branch still waving up and down after they landed.

“Shoot,” Charlie said. “They covered the chimneys.”

“Over here,” Charlene squeaked, putting her claws on the gutter and looking down. “You see that vine on the wall? Next to it is a vent. Try to get in.”

Charlie studied the vine.  Then he hung off the gutter and dropped into it. “It’s holding,” he squeaked. “I’ll jump over.”

With an athletic swing, he landed on the vent and peeked in between the louvers. “It’s an attic,” he said. “Nobody there. Only a noisy machine and lots of dust.”

“Can you get in?” Charlene pressed, getting impatient because the clouds were turning dark, announcing another rain storm.

“Easy, girl, I’m trying.” Charlie put his claws on a lower louver and pressed his back against the upper one but there wasn’t much movement. “It’s hard,” he complained.

Charlene dropped into the vine. “Move right,” she said. “I’ll come over and we’ll try together.”

“Don’t!” Charlie warned, seeing the gardener coming with his loud sputtering mower. “Hang in there, I’ll come back.”

Both hung in the vine, hiding until the mower was gone. Charlie swung back to the vent, making room for Charlene. She followed and both pressed their shoulders in between the louvers and created a suitable opening to sneak inside.

“Not bad,” Charlene said. “Enough room to squat on the wood.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Charlie said. Just at that moment, a thunderclap blasted and a violent shower clattered on the roof and against the vent. The squirrel couple sat high and dry, hearing the gardener cursing and shutting off his mower.

“This is great,” Charlene said. “I can have my babies here.”

The night approached and Charlene gave birth to three little squirrels. Nicely protected from birds of prey and cold showers, Charlie and Charlene enjoyed peaceful family life. Early mornings Charlie ventured outside to get food from the yards.

Then one night the attic started getting spooky.

“Do you hear that, Charlie?” his wife asked, concerned.

A little cloud appeared and two mice peeked out.

 

 

“Hi,” one said. “I am Maxie, and I lived here before.”

“And I am Maxine,” the other mouse said. “We both lived here before, but we’re dead now. “

“What!” Charlie said, worried. “Are you ghosts?”

“They poisoned us,” Maxine said. “Me, Maxie and my babies. So mean.”

“Would they come here to kill us, too?” Charlene asked, looking scared at her babies.

“When they hear you squeaking, gnawing or grunting as you do, they’ll come after you,” Maxie said.

“Oh no!” Charlene cried. “Not now, the babies are too small yet to carry them outside. And that rotten weather.”

Suddenly the little cloud covered the mice again. “We’ll be back another time,” the squirrels heard. “We only get so much time.”

Charlie and Charlene shivered, hovering over their little ones, and tried to be as quiet as possible.

* * *

“Hi, John,” neighbor Kevin said. “Do you know you’ve got squirrels in your attic? Look up there.” Kevin pointed. “They creep through your vent.”

“I’ll be damned! We thought we were hearing noises.”

“You better get them out before they chew your wires.”

“The rascals!”

* * *

That night, my wife screamed. “John, John, the mice are back!”

Fast asleep, I woke up with a shock. “What, what, where, where? Can’t be, I killed them all.”

“There,” she hollered. “On the dresser!”

True. Maxie and Maxine sat there, enveloped in their half-open little hazy cloud, staring at us.

“I thought we killed you,” I said, in awe of seeing micey spooks.

“Murdered, you did,” Maxie emphasized.

“Our whole family,” Maxine whined.

“You weren’t paying rent, remember?” I tried to justify, feeling guilty. They looked so sweet. “And you were messing up things big time. Droppings all over, toilet paper chewed off, rice bags torn, sofas sullied, and I can go on.”

“Why not treat us more humanely?” Maxie asked. “Why leave us in the freezing cold while you’re happily warm inside?”

“Don’t do the same to those squirrels up there,” Maxine said. “They just had three lovely babies.”

“That’s why you came back spooking to tell us that?” my wife asked.

“We have to go now,” Maxie said. “They give us only so much time.”  The little cloud closed over them and they vanished in the dark.

“I think I had a nightmare,” my wife said.

“Me too,” and we went back to sleep.

* * *

The next day our favorite carpenter, painter, construction specialist and handyman, Yimy Romero, and I opened the attic door and looked in. And, yes, we saw them sitting up, their silhouettes visible against the outdoor light streaming in through the vent.

“We can take care of them,” Yimy said. “No problemo.”

“Let’s give them a month, their babies are still blind now,” I said. “I’ll send them an eviction notice.” I laughed.

“Oh, yeah? How’s that?” Yimy grinned.

“I think we have a communication channel.”

“Better throw some mothballs,” Yimy advised. “That’ll kill them.”

* * *

The following night, my wife poked my side. “I hear some rustling,” she whispered.

I sat up and the darling mice couple appeared again on the dresser, the little cloud surrounding them slowly opening up.

“What are you going to do?” Maxie asked.

“Chase them mice out!” my wife screamed, horrified.

“Okay, Maxie, Maxine, tell them four weeks, no more,” I said. “Now beat it and don’t come back next fall!”

* * *

A month later, Yimy came and we looked inside the attic again. Empty. Charlie and Charlene had moved out with their offspring. I cut the vine and Yimy’s grandson (his faithful help) pulled it down. With a long ladder, Yimy covered the vent with a thick mesh.

 

Charlie and Charlene now sit in the backyard, close to the high Holly shrubs, loving each other, nibbling on nuts, their babies roaming nearby.

Credits: David Gylland  (picture left); Val Vesa (picture right)

This story was inspired by Mark Spencer’s delightful book Ghost Walking. (Mark did some editing too)

Ghost Walking by [Spencer, Mark]

https://amzn.to/2xcINKS. (Kindle)

https://amzn.to/31WFk17 (Paper)

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Enchanting the Swan

https://amzn.to/2XvKMsx

“A beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.” Neal Cary (Cellist -Professor – William&Mary)

“Enjoyed the book. Well written book. A very heartbreaking love story.” Vera Wilson

“Enchanting the Swan was a nice read, and a deviation from the predictable boy meets girl and falls in love formula. There were many turns in the book that are reminiscent of life in that they were off the path to the end result. The writing was very image evoking and it all made for a good story that kept me reading until the end. Looking forward to more from this author!” Amy

“A lively composition! The various moneyed people, their elaborately appointed living quarters, and their high-wheeling lifestyle add a dash of pizzazz.” Kirkus Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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